They are so scared. More scared than they’ve been since Hillary Clinton moved into the White House. They do this every time they get this scared, and they never get this scared of a man. Other people might wonder how politics and the media can be filled with so many pearl-clutchers when there are so few women in either profession, but such is the case. Some might suggest these folks were a little too close to mamma to grow up to be functional men, if you know what I mean. Still others might suggest it’s an intimacy-issues thing, the result of being cuckolded by empowered, irritated, unsatisfied wives. Whatever the source of this neuroses and dysfunction, the result is always the same:
Gary Kamiya’s article in Salon was graced by that picture of Palin. That picture of Hillary is from Spy Magazine, circa February 1993, just a month after she and Bill arrived in Washington. This is the Fourth Estate’s enfeebled attempt police the political class. But it only shows how distorted and mentally diseased they are, how much privilege they’ve been able to secure, which is to say, way too much. Maybe we need to run a Psychiatrist for president, so we can have these images translated for the media as they publish them.
What they don’t think about, because it’s so far outside the limited borders of their bubbled brains, is what effect this sort of propaganda has on some people, especially people aware of and open to feminist sentiments. That Spy Magazine cover made me a life-long fan of Hillary Clinton at the tender age of 22, and articulated in one image what she’s had to fight as a woman in politics all her life. It also made me shed the bullshit rhetoric swirling around women in my age group at the time that feminism wasn’t necessary anymore, and was odious to boot. The sympathy it created in me spurred the birth of a barrier wall in my brain, which grew with every dirty trick Republicans of the 1990s threw at Hillary or Bill. A lot of other Americans experienced this too. This wall of static sound developed for a lot of people, so that by 1995 all most people heard when they listened to Clinton critics and naysayers was a whole lot of what Lucy and Charlie hear when adults speak in a Peanuts cartoon: Waa-WAA-Waa-WAA-WAA.
But there was a danger I wasn’t aware of at the time, and the thought of that missed danger plagues me today. The kids of the 1990s weren’t able to build that wall of static, they absorbed and internalized all of those unfounded charges and characterizations. And because they were too young to understand what was going on, because parents felt uncomfortable talking about it to them because of the Lewinsky-sex issue, the little seeds of hate Republicans were trying to sow at the time landed in a lot of young, fertile hearts. And look where we are today. We’ve got young women so stupefied from all the confusion they can’t even see overt, rank sexism before their very eyes. We’ve got other, older women so hooked in to the white male power structure they’re unwilling to risk losing anything, to risk being put into leather and chains themselves, even if just in pictures. We’ve got a lot of young men monkeying those Republicans from the 90s, even some young men ostensibly smart enough to know better. These are monsters built in the ideological ovens of the 1990s. This is the legacy of 1990s, of all those Republican hit jobs.
This is the also danger we face today. Make no mistake about it. You cannot just go back to your couch, to watching Lost and House and whatever reality TV show it is you follow. Young women and men today, my 14 year old daughter among them, are absorbing the heat of the hit jobs this year. It is baking into their very flesh. IF Hillary runs in 2012, my daughter will be old enough to vote. What choice will she make after all she’s seen this year? So far she’s still an Obama fan, even though she now understands what Hillary had to deal with, and sympathizes with me over the sexism she herself can now identify. But just yesterday, as she sauntered off to bed, she couldn’t resist snarkily throwing this little gem in my face: “Why do you want four more years of Bush, Mom?” This is where she is after living her whole life with a feminist Hillary Clinton supporter. After all she knows about what happened this year, and because I am her mom she knows the whole sorry tale (and is sorry to hear it again), this is still the argument that works for her in her politically budding mind.
This is why we fight. We fight for my daughter and the millions of girls like her who are endangered by the sexist rhetoric that passes for media these days. We fight for the millions of boys who are looking at the Progressive Dude Nation right now, at their style, their pazzazz, their irreverence, and who are wanting to posture the same stance one day if they haven’t adopted it already. There is more at stake than just this year, this election, or the next four years. There are legions of young minds being shaped, and we must inform them, using rhetoric that is natural to their intellect, of what is going on right now and what is possible for the future.